MSOfficeXML fragmentation

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5/7/2007

Joel Spolsky talks about how the decision to end VBA support in MSOffice for the Mac. Joel is right when he says it comes down to the cost/benefit analysis. When there is competition and money at stake, solutions can be found. When you have a captive audience, well, the sheep just have to understand.

So much for complete MSOfficeXML support. To me, this exposes what a sham the whole MSOfficeXML standardization effort is. It is a hard sell to get other people to support VBA if that they cannot even support it themselves. But VBA is such a key part of the MSOffice lock-in that it has to be in the MSOfficeXML spec. I keep hoping that Microsoft will come out with the equivalent to Adobe's PDF/A with limitations that make it appropriate for preservation, but it does not sound like this will be possible and still be implementable.

I think this shows how you cannot depend on a proprietary system for anything that needs long-term preservation. At some point the cost/benefit analysis or some other commercial consideration will not be to your liking, and there is nothing you will be able to do about it. Mark Pilgrim's post Freedom 0 is about Moveable Type, but it applies to any Microsoft tools too.

I also noticed that Sun is suddenly going to support OpenOffice's Mac port. I wonder if this is related? Let's see what happens when there is some competition!

The postscript where he also complains about the issues he had with opening up old documents from Microsoft Word for Windows is also pretty amusing. I wonder what wackiness the old formats have that make them a security risk?

Tags: microsoft sun

File Formats: MSOfficeXML